Gender Justice and Rights in Climate Change Adaptation: Opportunities and Pitfalls


Tschakert, Petra, and Mario Machado. 2012. “Gender Justice and Rights in Climate Change Adaptation: Opportunities and Pitfalls.” Ethics and Social Welfare 6 (3): 275–89.

Authors: Petra Tschakert, Mario Machado


We present three rights-based approaches to research and policies on gender justice and equity in the context of climate change adaptation. After a short introduction, we describe the dominant discourse that frames climate change and provide an overview of the literature that has depicted women both as vulnerable victims of climatic change and as active agents in adaptive responses. Discussion follows on the shift from gendered impacts to gendered adaptive capacities and embodied experiences, highlighting the continuing impact of social biases and institutional practices that shape unequal access to and control over household and community decision-making processes undermining timely, fair, and successful adaptive responses. Assessment of rights-based frameworks considers the space they provide in addressing persistent gender and other inequalities, at different political and operational scales. We argue that a human security framework is useful to fill the gap in current gender and climate justice work, particularly when implemented through the entry point of adaptive social protection. Gender justice in climate change adaptation is an obligation for transformational social change, not just rights. The time is ripe to replace narrow-minded vulnerability studies with a contextualized understanding of our mutual fragility and a commitment to enhanced livelihood resilience, worldwide.

Keywords: human security, adaptive social protection, gendered adaptive capacity, embodied experiences, interconnectedness, mutual fragility, connectedness, Inequalities

Topics: Environment, Climate Change, Gender, Gendered Discourses, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Justice, Rights, Security, Human Security

Year: 2012

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